Tuesday 30 December 2014

My Top 10 Films of 2014

December is coming to a close, and as is the well-established tradition by now, that means it's time to put together a conclusive list of my Top 10 Films from the year.

2014 has been an absolutely stellar year for movies, with piles upon piles of thrilling, immersive and brilliant films landing on our screens across the year. Picking a personal Top 10 might seem a little redundant underneath the hundreds of other end-of-year lists, but I think it's fun and feels like a nice little way to round out the year.

So, what ten flicks made the cut?

Monday 29 December 2014

Film Review: Big Hero 6

Big Hero 6 is the latest feature-length animation from Disney, and it sees the Mouse House team-up with Marvel Studios for a comic-book adaptation that will appeal to kids and adults alike. 

Sunday 28 December 2014

Rank the Films: Tolkien's Middle Earth

As any regular reader of this blog will know, lists are pretty darn nifty. I have a profound appreciation for straight-up lists. This is the thinking behind Rank the Films, a regular feature that pulls apart the pros and cons of a series of films, ranking them in order from bad to good.

Across six movies, Peter Jackson has redefined fantasy story-telling through the Middle Earth saga, and this month I'm ranking them from worst to best - starting with 2001's Fellowship of the Ring to the recent finale The Battle of the Five Armies, Jackson's Middle Earth saga is one of the most popular and successful franchises in movie history - but which entry tops my list?

So, without further ado, let's dive straight in - where did your favourite Middle-Earth film come? Read on to find out...

Friday 26 December 2014

Film Review: The Hobbit - The Battle of the Five Armies

"Will you follow me, one last time?"

Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom, Cate Blanchett, Lee Pace, Evangeline Lily, Christopher Lee
Runtime: 144 minutes

All good things must come to an end. After six films, over 1200 minutes of runtime and countless dead orcs, Peter Jackson's Middle Earth saga concludes in this final chapter, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Through tying together the original The Lord of the Rings trilogy and its prequel, The Hobbit trilogy, The Battle of the Five Armies is a satisfying, if uneven and disjointed, sendoff for the iconic cinematic saga.

Saddle your warpig, and let the final battle commence...

Wednesday 24 December 2014

My Top 5 TV Shows of 2014

It might be an adage so often repeated it's lost all meaning, but right now really is a 'golden age' for TV. When else has there been such a wide-ranging variety of quality shows for viewers to pick and choose from, akin to a delectable buffet where the next engrossing treat is just waiting ti be discovered and gorged upon.

My year has been jam-packed with some amazing TV, so I decided to talk about five shows that stood out for me.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Film Review: St Vincent

St Vincent is a heart-warming tale about Vince, a retired curmudgeon who's life is given new purpose when he meets Oliver, an innocent school kid who lives next door. It stars Bill Murray in the lead role, with Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts in supporting roles.

Thursday 18 December 2014

Film Review: Locke

Losties despair! This isn't the long-awaited spin-off movie about John Locke, the stoic bald headed nutjob from Lost who regained the use of his legs. I'm sorry you have to hear the bad news from me.

The good news is, it's actually better than that! Instead, Locke a claustrophobic thriller that charts a fateful car ride for building site manager Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy). Buckle up, things are about to get a little tense.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Film Review: Exodus - Gods and Kings

Holy moses Batman!

Ridley Scott, director of Gladiator and Kingdom of Heaven, is back with another historical epic in Exodus: Gods and Kings. It sees Christian Bale play Moses, a prince/shepherd tasked by God with freeing the Hebrew people from their Egyptian slave-drivers and their tyrannical king, Rameses (Joel Edgerton).

Friday 12 December 2014

My Favourite Movie Posters from 2014

If you can't judge a book by its cover, then what the hell is it there for? The same goes for movie posters, and the purpose they serve. For me, a clever poster with some grabbing visuals and a great tagline is half the job when it comes to selling a movie.

For this post, I've put together a selection of the best movie posters to catch my eye this year. No rankings or 'Top 10', just a handful of those that made me sit up and take notice of an upcoming film. Be sure to let me know what you think, and tell me which 2014 posters you loved in the comments below!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Quotes Corner - 2014 Edition

I have a regular feature called Quotes Corner (you'd be forgiven for not knowing given how irregularly I get round to posting one) where I collect together some of wittiest, snarkiest and most memorable lines from a recent film or TV show. In the past, I've covered Community, Modern Family and even Karl Pilkington. 

This December, I've been documenting every and anything that summarises 2014 in film - from a soundtrack playlist to my Top 5 Worst Films of the Year - and I decided it'd be cool to revive this past feature with a bumper edition jam-packed full of the most memorable (for better or for worst) lines from films this year.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favourite quotes from 2014!

Sunday 7 December 2014

My Top 5 Worst Films of 2014

For the most part, my blogging experience is for talking about and celebrating awesome movies. Films that make you woop, cheer, punch the air, cry, gasp and sing with joy.

And yet, there is the odd film that sticks out as being utter shite. Every now and again, a movie comes along that is just so bad, so completely crap it just has to be ripped apart. Welcome then, to my Top 5 Worst Films of 2014.

Thursday 4 December 2014

My 2014 Movie Soundtrack Playlist

Movies and music, a match made in heaven. 

For me, a big part of a film's entertainment factor comes from its score or soundtrack. Weave a half decent score through your movie, or throw in a few licensed tracks that compliment the action and you can bet your ass I'm heading straight to iTunes as soon as I get home from the theatre.

2014 has been no different, with a whole host of toe-tapping tracks pricking up my ears across the year - from Tegan and Sara's inescapable earworm 'Everything is Awesome' to Keira Knightley's wonderful vocals in John Carney's Begin Again soundtrack, there has been so much to jam along to over the last 12 months.

For me, the best soundtrack compilation of the year has got to be Guardians of the Galaxy - from August onwards, Awesome Mix Vol. 1 has pretty much been on an endless loop in my car. Another standout was Hans Zimmer's superb Interstellar soundtrack, as was Alexandre Desplat's compositions from The Imitation Game and The Grand Budapest Hotel.

I also really liked the meta-humour in The Muppets track, 'We're Doing A Sequel' - not many films would open with a musical number decrying it to be not as good as the previous movie, but they went there. Beware - it's super catchy.

I've thrown in a couple of TV tunes too - it's kind of cheating, but you know what? That doesn't matter, that's how awesome those tracks are. Fans of True Detective and Fargo rejoice!

As I've done in the past, I've put together a quick Spotify playlist to encapsulate the year, cherrypicking my favourite tracks from the soundtracks from X-Men, Walter Mitty, Godzilla and more. Check out the full playlist in the Spotify player below:

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Film Review: Nightcrawler

Set against the sprawling, neon-drenched backdrop of Los Angeles, Nightcrawler sees Jake Gyllehaal play Lou Bloom, an out-of-work thief who discovers a talent for capturing crime on film and selling it on to local news outlets. 

Sucked into the gritty LA underbelly, Lou soon becomes engrossed in finding the perfect crime to document, manipulating and hurting those around him in the process.

Monday 1 December 2014

Trailer Talk: The Force Awakens + more

Two trailers have awakened something within me this week - Star Wars, and Jurassic World. Here are my thoughts on the two mega teasers we were treated to this week. 

Sunday 23 November 2014

Film Review: The Double

The Double is a comedy/thriller movie from Maurice Moss Richard Ayoade, the creative brain behind 2011's Brit indie flick, Submarine

It stars Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Yasmin Paige and Noah Taylor. Prepare to be bemused - and maybe not in a good way.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Film Review: The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Pt 1

Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Natalie Dormer
Runtime: 125 minutes

"If we burn, you burn with us"

The Hunger Games - Mockingjay Part 1 is the third instalment in the wildly popular young adult film franchise, and it sees our hero, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) thrust to the forefront of a full-blown uprising. It's a grim, uncompromising and somewhat uneven entry - but it works, delivering another stand-out YA film destined for the big bucks.

Monday 17 November 2014

Film Review: The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is the story of Alan Turing, a socially-awkward professor and mathematician who becomes the key to defeating the Germans during World War II by solving the Enigma Code.

Directed by Morton Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, this gorgeously crafted period piece is an early frontrunner in the Oscar race and excels across the board.

Friday 14 November 2014

Film Review: John Wick

Sad Keanu is a thing of the past - this is Mad Keanu. 

Starring Keanu Reeves, Willem Dafoe, Michael Nyqvist and Adrianne Palacki, John Wick is the most stylish and badass action movie of 2014. 

Thursday 13 November 2014

Film Review: Let's Be Cops

Let's Be Cops is buddy-cop comedy with a twist - these dudes ain't cops. Starring Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr as two thirty-somethings going nowhere in life who decide to pose as police officers, Let's Be Cops has a cool premise that struggles to extend beyond the first half-hour.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Verdict: Doctor Who Series 8

Doctor Who Series 8 saw the show break new ground - with a new, grumpier Doctor at the helm, the BBC's flagship sci-fi show plunged into darker, and grimier territory across 12 stellar episodes. From a spider-infested Moon base to Robin Hood and his band of merry men, here is my verdict on Doctor Who Series 8. 

Monday 10 November 2014

Rank the Films: Christopher Nolan

As any regular reader of this blog will know, lists are pretty darn nifty. I have a profound appreciation for straight-up lists. This is the thinking behind Rank the Films, a regular feature that pulls apart the pros and cons of a series of films, ranking them in order of bad to good.

This month, I'm looking at the complete filmography of Christopher Nolan, a director considered to be one of the best directors currently working today. 

From his breakout hit Memento to the Dark Knight trilogy and his latest release Interstellar, Nolan's distinctive style has certainly left an impact on modern day cinema, with his fingerprints and influence resonating across genre and mediums. 

So, without further ado, let's dive straight in - this is every Nolan film ranked worst to best. Did your favourite reach the top? Read on...

Thursday 6 November 2014

Film Review: Interstellar

Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain
Runtime: 169 minutes

Space, the final frontier. After tackling magicians, vigilantes and dream thieves, Christopher Nolan is blasting off into the black void of nothingness for his latest movie, Interstellar

Friday 31 October 2014

Film Review: Happy Christmas

From director Joe Swanberg, Happy Christmas is a indie comedy/drama about adulthood and responsibility. It stars Anna Kendrick, Lena Dunham and Melanie Lynskey.

Thursday 30 October 2014

Marvel's Going To Infinity and Beyond (VOR #29)

I've been adverse to deconstructing every morsel of comic-book news over the last few weeks, but today's bombshell from Marvel was just too big to ignore. Essentially, Kevin Feige and co. sat down hundreds of journos in the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and outlined every Marvel movie in between now and May 2019. 

We've got a Civil War brewing, more Guardians of the Galaxy, a third Thor and not one, but two new Avengers movies in addition to raft of new character franchises. Let's go through what this means for the future of Marvel's Cinematic Universe...

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Film Review: Frank

"Nobody cared who I was before I put on the mask..."

From director Lenny Abrahamson, Frank is an indie flick about making it in the music industry - it stars Michael Fassbender, Domnhall Gleeson and Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

60 Second Film Reviews #14

Quick movie reviews, without the waffle. 60 Second Film Reviews is a regular feature where I compile together brief reviews of recent films I've watched at home or at the movies - and generally couldn't be arsed didn't find time to write a proper review for. 

In this month's edition we have Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer, Cuban Fury and Pompeii.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Film Review: Fury

April 1945 - the Allied Forces are slowly winning the war against the Germans, inching closer to Berlin with every passing day. 

Through the quiet hedgerows or Germany, the crew of a battle-hardened Sherman tank continue the fight against innumerable odds - lead by their grizzled commander 'Wardaddy' (Brad Pitt), they must dig deep to fight the courage to survive on the mud-soaked battlefields.

Thursday 23 October 2014

Trailer Talk: Age of Ultron + more

Time to talk some trailers! Well, one trailer in particular plus another so that I can add the little "+ more" into the title of this post...

But seriously though, we all know which trailer needs to be talked about - it's Avengers: Age of Ultron! Originally scheduled for release next week, Marvel have had to accelerate their plans after the trailer was leaked online early this morning. As they themselves remarked on Twitter, "Damn you, Hydra!"

So, without further ado, let's pick apart Marvel's latest and see what I thought...

Thursday 16 October 2014

First Impressions: Gotham

Gotham is quite possibly the most anticipated new show this year - set in the DC comicbook world we're all familiar with in some shape or form, Gotham follows a young Detective, James Gordon (Ben McKenzie), who arrives on scene to find a city rampant with corruption and crime. 

Tasked with solving the murder of two powerful philanthropists, Gordon and his ageing partner Bullock (Donal Logue) must cross paths with some of the city's most eccentric characters, as well as navigate an escalating mob war.

With the pilot of Gotham having aired on Australian TV over the weekend, I took some time to put together my first impressions of the show...

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Superhero Show Saturation (VOR #27)

If hadn't already noticed, let me spell this out for you - superheroes, are freaking everywhere right now. They're inescapable. From the Hulk-smashing success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe all the way down to cutesy Funko Pop vinyl figures, those guys in tight tights dominate screens big and small. 

And it's the with the latter that this shift is most evident. This (northern) autumn, a new wave of superhero shows are hitting airwaves as TV networks race to hook audiences on weekly daring-dos from our favourite lycra-clad heroes. So, is this trend here to stay, or just a 'flash' in the pan?

Tuesday 14 October 2014

First Impressions: Star Wars Rebels

Star Wars Rebels is a new animated show set in a galaxy far, far away. It's the first Star Wars property to d├ębut since Disney famously bought Star Wars a few years back, and (hopefully) sets the precedent for what kind of things we're going to see later down the track.

The pilot episode, 'Spark of Rebellion', aired here in Australia over the weekend. So, what did I think? Is Rebels just a cash-grab from the Mouse House, or an impressive (re)starting point for the most famous of film franchises? These are my first impressions...

Friday 10 October 2014

2016's Blockbuster Bonanza (VOR#26)

It might feel like an absolute aeon away, but 2016 will be the year to beat all years at the movies. Like the stars aligning in the night sky, it seems as though every film franchise has pitched their tent in 2016, from Captain America, to Batman, Superman, Star Wars, Avatar, X-Men, Assassin's Creed, Transformers and Ninja Turtles. To name a few that is.

However, is this really a good thing? Is 2016 set to become the holy grail of blockbuster movies, or doomed to disappoint?

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Random Movie Retitles (VOR #25)

It may not look like it, but this is actually the same movie.

Disclaimer: This opinion piece contains a rather obscure and inconsequential rant on random movie retitles. Beware, it gets messy.

One movie, two titles = one very confused Rhys. When is a random movie retitle justified, or are they just plain silly?

Sunday 5 October 2014

Film Review: Dracula Untold

Luke Evans is the original 'batman' in Dracula Untold, a medieval fantasy film from director Gary Shore that charts the origins of villainous vampire lord, Dracula. 

Friday 3 October 2014

Film Review: Gone Girl

Director: David Fincher
Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris
Runtime: 149 minutes

Sex, lies and videotape - David Fincher's Gone Girl is a complex thriller about marriage, murder and everything in-between. Oh, and it's easily one of the best films this year.

Monday 29 September 2014

Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a live-action reboot of the popular '90's cartoon of the same name - starring Megan Fox, Will Arnett and William Fitchner, 2014 Ninja Turtles is a mixed bag, with some fun thrills and spills for youngsters but little in the way of decent lead characters.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Top 5: Friends episodes

Last week, the collective population of Gen Y were blown away by the sudden realisation that they're getting hella old. The trigger for this stunning revelation? Friends turned 20 years old. Yikes, where does the time go? 

Yep, it's been 20 years since Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Joey and Phoebe first took their first fateful slurps of coffee in Central Perk. 10 seasons, 231 episodes and countless Buzzfeed articles later, and Friends has undoubtedly embedded itself in the cultural zeitgeist. All together now - WE WERE ON A BREAK!

I may have missed the boat in terms of the actual anniversary, but this post is to celebrate 20 years of Friends. As I tend to do, I've picked out my Top 5 favourite episodes from the show. Be sure to let me know your favourites in the comments section below!

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Film Review: The Little Death

Taboo. It's what Josh Lawson's new movie, The Little Death, aims to touch on and break down. More specifically, taboos surrounding sex, fetishism, love and relationships. Through exploring the lives of multiple couples, this light-hearted Australian comedy will make you laugh, cry and cringe all the way to its hilarious climax - yes, pun intended.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Top 5: Lost episodes

This post contains spoilers for Lost - duh!

This September sees JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof's much-lauded TV drama Lost turn 10. Premiering on ABC back on September 22nd 2004, Lost captured the imagination of audiences worldwide for six gripping seasons, before everything came to a head in 2010's controversial finale 'The End'. 

I never watched Lost during its original run, but was talked into marathoning the entire six seasons earlier in the year by my girlfriend, an avid fan of the show since in began. I was skeptical at first, but the show quickly won me over with its variety of three-dimensional characters, in-depth backstories and convoluted plotting. Plus, Evangeline Lily is nice to look at.

In order to mark the date, I've put together a Top 5 of my favourite Lost episodes; what happens, who features heavily and why I think they're great. There's also a further feature on Lost to be posted tomorrow. Give them a read, and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Saturday 20 September 2014

Film Review: The Maze Runner

The latest film off the starting blocks in the YA adaptation arms-race, The Maze Runner follows in the footsteps of The Hunger Games and Divergent by blending a hot young cast with a gritty alternative universe set-up and some bloody arena action.

(Also, bonus points in the comments section for the person who can pick out the most 'running' puns - the count is already on three...)

Friday 19 September 2014

The YA Invasion (VOR #24)

The young adult genre is an inescapable phenomenon of the modern movie industry - after the immense success of Harry Potter (and before that, Roald Dahl adaptations like Matilda and James and the Giant Peach), studios are racing to snatch up the hottest paperback fantasy currently capturing the imagination of tweens everywhere.

This year alone we've seen several new 'franchises' try and find their feet in the increasingly crowded multiplex - to be met with varying degrees of success. So what are the benefits (and drawbacks) of this unrelenting onslaught of adaptations?

Tuesday 16 September 2014

My Uni Life in Film, TV and Music

Time for a change of pace. I don't often write anything about myself personally on this blog, and prefer to keep things strictly about the films or TV shows I'm talking about at that time.

That said, at the present moment I want to write something different, for today at least. This is because my life is moving from one phase to the next, and I wanted to put into words some reflections on the phase I'm currently leaving behind.

Over the weekend, I graduated from uni, officially ending life as an undergrad. Degree in hand, the working world is the next challenge to face, with coursework and lectures a thing of the past.

Before writing this post, I asked myself one question - what media to I associate with my time at uni? Which film, show or album clicks in my brain and transports me to those long days in the library or late nights on campus. Essentially, I wanted to reminisce in a way that encapsulates the past three years through media.

So, to tie this back in with the theme of my blog (film and pop culture), let's talk about some defining pieces that meant something from during my time at uni.

Friday 12 September 2014

How Transformers Wooed China (VOR #23)

If this summer season has proved anything, it's that international audiences, particularly Asian ones, are playing an increasingly pivotal role in a film's financial fortune. Wait, shut up Rhys. This isn't news to anyone. Maybe not, but that doesn't make it any less true. In fact, it's very much the shape of things to come...

Thursday 11 September 2014

Film Review: Young and Beautiful

Young and Beautiful is a French movie (titiled Jeune et Jolie) that sees 17-year-old Isabelle undergo a sexual awakening following the loss of her virginity on a summer holiday. 

Saturday 6 September 2014

Film Review: Into the Storm

Prepare to be blown away - or at least, knocked off balance by a slight breeze. This is Into the Storm, a disaster movie from director Steven Quale. It's like Twister, but with less airborne bovine activity.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Trailer Talk: Gone Girl + more

Time to talk some trailers! There are some real corkers to have hit the web in recent weeks, so let's have a look at which previews perked my interest. 

This week, we're looking at David Fincher's Gone Girl, and Dan Gilroy's debut directorial effort, Nightcrawler

Sunday 31 August 2014

Film Review: Predestination

Predestination is a science-fiction time-travel movie from a duo of up-and-coming Australian directors, the Spierig brothers. Set across a period of 50 years, it follows a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) as he journeys through time on the tail of a criminal who has continually eluded him. 

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Film Review: The Inbetweeners 2

Everyone's favourite bus wankers are back for second spell on the big screen - and this time, Will, Jay, Neil and Simon are knee-deep in clunge Down Under. Full of sun, sea and lots of sex, The Inbetweeners 2 is a fun continuation of the series - if you're a fan. 

Monday 25 August 2014

Casting Call: Uncharted

I read the other week that Sony are ploughing ahead with development on an Uncharted movie, with a proposed release date of June 10 2016. Seeing as Uncharted is quite possibly the best PlayStation exclusive game ever (maybe except for The Last of Us), I'm pretty pumped. I love Uncharted

And whilst video game adaptations are hit and miss, Uncharted is perfect for the silver screen. It's as cinematic as video games come. Which is why I really, really don't want to see it get f**ked up. And hearing that Mark Wahlberg is attached to play Nathan Drake makes me skin crawl, eyes bleed and brain explode with disgrace. I mean, he's an okay actor, but he's no Nathan Drake.

So, I took it upon myself to draw up my dream cast for an Uncharted movie. Here's what I came up with...


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